The Carolina Panthers have no return game to speak of, their high-priced kicker is struggling with accuracy issues and their coverage teams have allowed three punt returns for touchdowns - one shy of tying an NFL record.
Coach Ron Rivera said he isn't putting the blame on first-year special teams coordinator Brian Murphy. The coordinator has come under fire from a frustrated fan base after a series of special teams miscues this season.
Rivera staunchly defended Murphy at Monday's press conference, a strong indication he won't be making any changes to his staff.
When asked if he's satisfied with the job Murphy has done, Rivera said, ''Don't ask that because I am satisfied, OK? That's not a fair question.''
Rivera pointed to the team's numerous injuries - the Panthers have 11 players on injured reserve - as having a trickle-down effect on the poor play of the special teams. Backups have been forced to become starters, which means players who were normally third string have been fo...